Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar officially opened the National Horse Sport Arena at the National Sports Campus in Blanchardstown earlier today Wednesday, 9th October, 2013. He was accompanied by Michael Ring, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport.
The magnificent new arena has been established within the Walled Garden of Abbotstown House, a protected structure. It will give Irish equestrian athletes access to world-class facilities which have been developed in accordance with the High Performance training needs of equestrian riders and under the technical guidance of Horse Sport Ireland and its affiliate bodies. The National Horse Sport Arena is the first publicly owned facility of its kind in Ireland; it will be managed by the Operations Company of the National Sports Campus; and it will be available on a ‘community commercial’ basis to those who are aspiring for success in international competition.
Performing the opening of the National Horse Sport Arena, Minister Leo Varadkar said:
“This is the next major milestone in the development of the National Sports Campus. The National Horse Sport Arena is the first public facility of its kind in Ireland and will provide world-class facilities for 25 different equestrian sports.
“The National Sports Campus is now the first place in Europe where modern pentathletes can train in all five disciplines on a single campus. It’s been a real privilege to see Irish pentathletes and equestrian athletes do so well in the last couple of years. I am confident that this investment will result in more medals and trophies for Ireland in the near future.”
Horse Sport Ireland Chairman, Professor Patrick Wall, said the new National Horse Sport Arena was an exciting development for equestrian sport.
“This new facility will be extremely helpful in providing a World class surface for our top rider/horse partnerships to train on. In addition it will be great for our riders, who are also athletes, to have the opportunity to avail of all the other facilities on the National Sports Campus and to have the opportunity to use the coaching and rehabilitation services available to the other human athletes.
“Our senior and young riders are on a roll at the moment and the facilities on the campus will help to build on this success and tee us up for medals in the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics in Rio,” Professor Wall said.
In welcoming Horse Sport Ireland onto the Campus, Mr Sean Benton, Chairman of the National Sports Campus Development Authority drew attention to developments at the Campus over the past year and in particular:
– The completion of vital Infrastructure Works and an Access Roadway which open up the entire site for development;
– The allocation of sites for development by the GAA, FAI, Irish Hockey and the IRFU respectively in partnership with the Authority;
– The new Multi-Sport Synthetic Pitches and Pavilion which are nearing completion;
– The completion of a new National Diving Training Centre – a high-performance dry-land training facility;
– Completion of the National Modern Pentathlon Centre – a high-performance indoor training facility for Fencing and Pistol Shooting;
– The opening of Irish Sport HQ as an administrative base for 19 National Governing Bodies (NGBs);
– The world-class National Horse Sport Arena which is officially unveiled here.